Basic Briam

Briam is a basic Greek summer vegetable stew – part simmered on the stove top and part baked in the oven. The three veggies required are aubergine, courgette and potato. Sometimes a pepper is thrown in for extra flavour along with a handful of herbs from the garden. Its all about using ingredients that are fresh from the garden, plentiful at this time of year.

aubergines_growingToo young to pick, but in a day or two, more briam will be on the menu.

On nearly a weekly basis, young baby aubergines, tender finger length courgettes and perhaps a few mildly hot green chilli peppers appear on the kitchen table, newly harvested from our vegetable gardens. The natural answer is briam.

briam

Briam
A summer staple when the vegetables are plentiful in the garden. Making it with freshly picked tender vegetables, I believe, improves the flavour.

  • 4 to 5 baby aubergines (eggplant)
  • 4 to 5 baby courgettes (zucchini)
  • 3 medium Potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 green chilli pepper (mild to medium heat)
  • 400g Tomato Passata
  • Bunch of fresh mint
  • Bunch of parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • 200ml water
  • Feta cheese

Put some olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan and turn on medium high heat. Finely chop the onion and sautée in the oil until transparent. Thickly slice the aubergines and courgettes and cut the peeled potatoes into chunks. Put the aubergine and then courgettes in with the onions and cook until slightly wilted. Add the potato, chopped parsley and mint. Mix and cook until the potatoes are lightly brown before adding the passata, pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Add the water and let the whole mixture lightly boil until the sauce is reduced and passata has thickened.

Place the briam in cassarole with a lid (or cover with foil. Bake in the oven set to 180 degrees C for about 30 to 45 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary while it cooks. In the end, the potatoes should be soft.

Serve at room temperature (lukewarm) with a sprinkling of crumbled feta on top. Have slices of warm baguette ready to mop up the juices.

briam_onplate

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19 comments

    • It’s one of our standard lunches (we eat our main meal mid-day as common in this country). I didn’t used to like it as it is often made without herbs and heavy on the oil when you order it in tavernas. Making your own with fresh garden ingredients is a huge difference.

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    • You are absolutely right. On too many occasions we’ve been presented with bland, oily briam in tavernas across the land. We had just harvested the mint for freezing and use in various recipes. It seemed only natural to add it.

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  1. This really does sound good, Debi. There’s something special when a dish on the table was freshly picked in your garden that morning. I’ve got the eggplant, to be sure, but my zucchini is having some sort of a problem. I thought it was rabbits eating the flowers but I’ve installed a fence and the blossoms still fall off. Even so, nothing says that I cannot buy a couple of zucchini from the farmers market. I do want to make this dish!!!! Thanks.

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    • Hi John, The briam is very good and is a classic Greek summer dish for a reason – to use up all those veggies coming out of the garden. Sorry about your zucchini. Ours is now dust, having shrivelled up in the recent heat and the tomatoes have not done well this year with some sort of rotting blight. Luckily those eggplants are still producing and we have a weekly market just up the street where farmers bring in produce from the countryside.

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